Getting Started With Rack Labeling

Labeling the racks of your warehouse or manufacturing facility can streamline inventory processes and help make the workplace operate much more efficiently.

Like any job, creating a rack labeling system requires some knowledge and supplies. It’s important to learn about inventory systems. To begin, though, all you really need to know, for the purpose of building your visual labeling system, is this: A Multi-Level Warehouse Rack Label System is a set of labels coded with colors and graphics, usually located at a reachable level, that gives a full picture of the products kept there. These systems improve efficiency and reduce errors.

If you’re starting the process of building a labeling system for the first time, it’s important to think about this process practically. With any barcoding, you must consider the little details. When it comes to rack labeling, three key barcode specifications—symbology, X dimension, and quiet zone—are crucial to building a smart, successful labeling system. Since rack labels are posted high on shelves, keeping these specifications in mind ensures that you create labels that can be seen, read, and utilized at various angles and distances.

Symbology refers to the lines and spaces that define how barcodes are printed and read. Symbology is what allows labels to communicate with barcode readers and scanners. There are hundreds of unique barcode symbologies that various industries use to meet their specific needs. UPC codes, for example, are numeric-only codes used in the retail industry. These are the codes used to ring up everything from your favorite pair of sweats to a family-size jar of mayonnaise.

Warehouses, on the other hand, most commonly use alphanumeric barcodes (often called one-dimensional barcodes, as they are printed with lines and spaces. Two-dimensional (2D) barcodes are the codes that are square in shape and resemble television static. Ever used your phone to scan a QR code to get a discount on chinos or use your phone to scan an airline ticket? You used 2D codes. These codes have the capability to encode data in less space than traditional 1D codes.

X Dimension is the thickness of lines and distance of spaces on a barcode. X dimension affects the width of the printed barcode and, consequently, the size of the label. It’s an important element to consider during rack labeling, since the x dimension determines minimum and maximum read distances of the barcode.

Important note: The larger your label, the greater the scanning distance. Keep this in
mind when designing Rack labels.

The Quiet Zone is the blank space on either side of the barcode. This space is required for a complete and accurate reading from scanners. Without the quiet zone, scanners will not be able to read barcodes efficiently.

It is important to pay attention to even the seemingly meaningless details when developing your system. The goal is to improve communication and putting in the time and effort to create a comprehensive system can make all the difference.

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